Thursday, January 7, 2010
A Tale of Two Bones....
I've been holding off on posting the tale of our New Years Day drama as long as I possibly could. Not because I'm procrastinating (usually I freely admit that I am a gold medalist procrastinator), but because I really just didn't want to go there again.
However, I just vowed two posts ago to be a better blogger. To record the great moments of mi familia for posterity.
Boy do I have a whopper for them.
But as much as I don't want to relive the last 5 days I must before the memory fades and the details blur.
Fox's great-grandchildren better thank me.
We had a fantastically fun New Years Eve at my parent's house with my siblings and their children. We played games into the wee hours of the morning. Even the kids were up until their eyelids couldn't hold open any longer. Fox and his bestie cousin Tanner wore out everyone else, and were only trumped by The King who was dealing with a server and etl failure for one of their clients until 4:45 am (for those of you who don't speak computer geek, something stupid broke in the 'puter code).
Despite being awake most of the night, these two boys were up early playing. They only stopped to enjoy the delish breakfast/meat fest that Grandma and auntie Fancy made. After eating all the grandkids went downstairs to the "grand kids room" to play. I headed for the shower to was off the scent of bacon that had decided to leech to my hair (why oh why, does meat have to smell so bad? Is it any wonder I gave the stuff up at 14????). Having scoured my head until it hurt to make sure no pig fat residue remained, I was just getting out of the shower when The King knocked on the door and yelled "Fox fell off the bunk beds and won't stop crying. It's been 30 minutes (yes, it was a long shower). You need to look at his arm."
I immediately knew it was bad. Fox doesn't cry for longer than 20 seconds when he gets hurt. Normally a kiss and hug from mom, followed by a band aid if necessary, is all to make Fox wipe away the tears and get right back to playing. I went upstairs and he was sitting on the couch with his right wrist wrapped in a ice pack. I was hesitant to look under the wrap. When our dog Bella broke her leg years ago and I saw the bone trying to punch it's way out of the skin I almost fainted. Fortunately, Fox's arm and wrist looked normal but swollen. Still, he would not stop crying so we decided to take him to Instacare.
At Instacare we had to wait approx. 20 minutes before being seen. Fox had stopped crying on the way over but was turning a sickly shade of grey. I think he was in shock from the pain. When he started heaving I knew he was either going to throw up or faint. The King got him a barf back and he dry heaved into it and then slumped onto The King. Just at that moment they called him back but he was so wobbly we had to hold him up to get into the room.
The doctor examined him and ordered x-rays. If you've ever had x-rays you know they have to move your hurt appendage around A LOT to get the view they want for diagnosis. Fox cried through the process, which was thankfully pretty short. It was very obvious from the x-rays that Fox had broken both the radius and the ulna at the wrist. Because the arm would swell for 2 or 3 days, they put a splint on him and directed us to get him in to an orthopedic specialist on Monday for casting.
Once Fox had the splint on and his wrist was isolated he felt 1000 times better. We took him home and kept his arm elevated for the rest of the day. He spent the entire weekend in the sling, but was able to play and get up and around with no problem.
Here are some pictures from Instacare:
(In the waiting room trying not to pass out.)
(Splint on and feeling much better.)
On Monday morning I called to see if I could get an appointment with the orthopedist but they could not fit him in. Apparently the long holiday weekend put them way behind so the earliest I could get him in would be Tuesday at 10. I took him to school with orders to take it easy and leave his sling on but I still got a call from the office to pick him up around 12:30. Apparently he had gone out to recess and slipped on a snow pile and fell. Smack on his arm.
In the movie Sound of Music the older, matronly nuns sing a song about their frustrations with Fraulein Maria. In it they ask "How do you catch a cloud and pin it down".
This song sprang into my head while driving over to get Fox. It was inevitable that he'd fall. If I was a betting gal I would have made a mint on the odds that he's get hurt again. Fox just can't stay still. His favorite part of school is recess and gym. Despite my pleadings and threats he went ahead and, well, acted like a normal 9 year old boy.
Frustrating, but not something I was going to make him feel bad about.
Tuesday morning dawned with the excitement that the splint would be off and a cast would replace it. A red cast for the University of Utah. A cast that his friends could draw all over. Fox was stoked. Mom was stoked that his fragile arm would be better protected and less vulnerable. The only person not excited was the Man CHild, who woke up in a rare crappy mood (mornings are usually his best time of day) and showing the signs of an oncoming cold (ie. snotty nose and cracky voice).
True to form, the doctor's office was extremely behind so I did my best to entertain MC all while being surrounded by 10-15 retirees in for their arthritis appointments (I'm not kidding here. I was the only adult under 50 in the waiting room). After fighting with MC for 40 minutes, Fox was finally called back. He had to have more x-rays taken, then we were shown to the casting room. The nurse came in and asked me if I had seen the x-rays before. I answered that I had on the day of the injury. She looked at me strangely and then directed me to the computer where the new scans were on screen. She asked "did they look like this?". Now, I've viewed about 4 x-rays total in my life and found them hard to decipher and slightly creepy, but the gigantic bend in his bone staring right at us would be obvious to a two year old.
What the CRAP?????
It was pretty obvious that either our Instacare Dr. missed a huge diagnosis or his fall at school did a lot of damage but didn't hurt. I'm going with the first case as more likely. His radius had been displaced, which basically means that the broken bone has moved backwards and was sticking out. Like my dog. Who made my faint.....
Fortunately with all the swelling you couldn't really see the warped bone, but it was obvious on the x-ray. It looked like a crooked finger. The doctor came in as we were looking at it and asked me the same question- hadn't they told us that the bone was displaced? I asked him what he needed to do- it was pretty clear that they couldn't just cast his arm and leave it at that. He said that he could get the bone back in place manually, but wrapping Fox's arm in plaster and then pushing the bone back and holding it in place while the plaster dried around it. The process would take 2 or 3 minutes.
Oh, did I forget to mention that he'd do it without pain medication??????????
That's right. He was going to re-break my son's stinking arm right there without knocking him out first.
I think he could tell I was not happy with THAT scenario, so he offered to send Fox over to the hospital next door to get an IV then be sedated by the on-call anaesthesiologist, but that would take a 2-3 minutes procedure and turn it into an hour long one. I presented both options to Fox and left it up to him. The kid is so brave. Without hesitating he said "mom, let's just get it over with". I think the fear of the IV (which he knows all to well from being an retinitis pigmentosa guinea pig) overwhelmed the fear of the unknown pain of bone replacement.
Sure to his words, the doctor moved quickly and had the bone in place in a matter of seconds. The ensuing two minutes where he held the wrist at a 45 degree angle to keep the bone in place while the plaster dried were agony for Fox. He screamed so loudly I'm sure the entire floor of the building could hear him. His cries scared MC, who I was holding one arm while holding Fox's good hand in the other. MC yelled at the doctor over and over "Let go Fox" while tears poured down his face. It was so touching to see MC's protective instinct take over, and the empathy he had for his brother's pain. Seeing my son in horrible agony was one of the worst moments of my life. I never, ever want to see that look on his face again or hear that kind of pain in his voice.
After the plaster set up the doctor sent Fox to x-ray to make sure the bone was aligned. He was weak and wobbly from the pain, but like the brave trooper he is went in with no complaint. The x-rays looked good so they sent him back to get a full arm cast. It turned out to be the most awkward looking cast I've ever seen. His wrist in set at 45 degrees, his elbow locked at 90 degrees- it looks malformed. I was given instructions to keep him down for 2-3 days with his arm elevated above his heart (to keep swelling down and circulation moving) and absolutely no movement. He could try to go back to school after that but could not participate in any physical activity whatsoever, and the mutant cast had to be in a sling with his wrist up by the opposite shoulder at all times when he wasn't laying down.
It's now Thursday and with much hesitancy I took him to school today. We were an hour late getting there because it took him so long to get up and moving and ready, but he has been so bored at home I couldn't justify keeping him cooped up here. I have my phone sitting by my side just waiting for the call from the school that he's hurting and to pick him up, but maybe I'll be wrong and he'll make it through fine. He is the toughest kid I know. I just can't bear to think of him in pain again.
Whoever said that being a mom means wearing your heart on your sleeve was the smartest person to ever live.